Spray Tan Shades: How to Choose the Right Shade For You?

Do you keep looking at dozens of celebrity photos with the same skin tone as you? Do you often admire their spray tan and compare it to your skin tone? But even after comparing a ton of photos, choosing from the wide range of spray tan shades can be difficult. Continue reading to find out how to choose the perfect spray tan shade that will give you that gorgeous glow.

Deciding on the right spray tan shades depends upon various factors. A darker skin tone person can not get the same spray tan colors as the lighter skin tone person. This will not give you a natural-looking tan.

To ideally decide your spray tan color make sure you take into account your skin tone, skin undertone, season, what you ultimately desire, and other factors like a paraben-free and organic spray tan.

Key Takeaways

A spray tan is trendy and gives you a golden glow. The chocolate shade is considered more beautiful because of the belief that in the earlier days, only rich people were able to afford a trip to the tropicals and get a tan. This notion has since been around, making the warm glow a sign of richness and beauty.

Here are some facts about spray tanning:

  • You look much darker just after your spray tan due to bronzer in your tanning solution
  • Bronzer is essential to give you the golden glow till your spray tan develops
  • The dark shade fades away after the bronzer washing out after a bath
  • Your hair color also matters while deciding your spray tan color
  • You can mix a few spray tan colors to get the one you want
  • To avoid looking orange, do not use self-tanner
  • To get the best results, exfoliate the day before
  • Skin tone ranges from Very Fair to Very Dark and there are 3 types of skin undertones

How to Choose From Different Spray Tan Shades?

Source: unsplash.com
Source: unsplash.com

There are four significant factors on which your decision of the right spray tan color should depend. These are

  • Skin Tone
  • Skin’s Undertone
  • Season
  • DHA content

It is best to do thorough research before going to the tanning salon. Start by looking at your natural best tan picture and compare the spray tan color closest to it.

Another factor which is not in the above four options but is very important is “What do you want?” We may give you the best ways to decide on your spray tan colors, but ultimately it cannot trump the results you have in your mind.

Let your skin tone decide the right shade

Skin tone is the primary factor you need to keep in mind while finalizing your spray tan color. The classic shade should fall closer to your natural skin tone. Any shades darker or lighter will make you look orange or unnatural.

How can you decide your skin tone?

There is a skin color chart that divides the various skin tones into 5 categories

  • Very Fair skin
  • Fair skin
  • Medium skin tone
  • Dark skin 
  • Very dark skin

Very Fair to Fair skin tone: If this is your first time, go a shade lighter than you desire. A sudden change in the skin tone may come as a shock to you, and there are chances you may not end up liking it.

Choose a spray tan with a soft golden tone to compliment your natural skin tone to get the perfect sun-kissed look.

Once you feel okay with the first tanning solution color, you can choose a red or violet tone for darker results.

Medium Skin Tone: They have a natural bronze color in their skin tone. It is best to enhance the features to get the sun-kissed look. 

They can apply invisible spray tans or classic shades like sunset shades, caramel shades, colorless tans to make them look smooth with a gorgeous glow.

A piece of warning, your skin color looks naturally tan so, do not go too dark on the spray tan color shade experimentation. No one wants to end up looking unnatural.

Dark to Very Dark Skin Tone: You do not need to tan. But if the heart wants what it wants, then go for it.

One of the best reasons to get a spray tan will be to get smooth and even looking skin. A dark tone will hide the blemishes, plus you can use darker shades to accentuate some features. 

Best spray tan colors will be dark brown, chocolate shade, or just a classic shade.

Choosing a spray tan according to your skin undertone

You should first know the difference between skin tone and skin undertone. Undertone is something you are born with and cannot change due to any external factors.

Source: unsplash.com
Source: unsplash.com

Have you ever seen a particular color look good on somebody with the same skin tone but look preposterous on you? Find out your skin undertone to avoid such mistakes:

The vein color: Look at the vein at your wrist. If it looks green, you have a warm undertone; if it looks blue, then you have a cool undertone.

The gold and silver jewelry test: Pick up jewelry and place it on your skin. If the gold jewelry brings out your color, you are of warm undertones, and if silver jewelry makes you look pretty, you belong to cooler undertones.

The T-shirt Test: wear a plain white and an off-white piece. If white makes you look bright and vibrant, you have a cool undertone, whereas if off-white speaks to you, you are a warm undertone queen.

After the above test, you may get one of the three answers.

  • Warm undertone: Yellow hue to the skin
  • Cool undertone: more pink-red skin
  • Neutral undertone: skin has a dark ash look

If you get inconclusive results, then you have a neutral undertone.

Always inform your tanning salon experts about your undertone to help select the best tan color. You do not want to apply a spray tan with a violet tone on a warm undertone skin.

Related: What is the best spray tan machine?

Pick the right spray as per the season

Season very subtly decides your spray tan color. If you choose to spray tan regularly, keep in mind the changing seasons. For example,


Summer is a natural time to get a tan. You can let a little loose and go for shades darker than intended. You have the liberty to choose shades of dark brown, dark ash, orange, or chocolate brown without looking unnatural.


The spring season has a natural glow about it. Even though it is not as sunny as summers, you can still choose a tanning solution with a hint of sunset in it. Dark brown or chocolate with an orange hue can be the best options.


This season brings cool tones in nature. You need to apply a spray tan with cooler tones to match your surroundings. But, add a hint of gold tone with caramel shade to capture the essence of fading warm summer.


You cover your body in this season; having a dark tan will make you look unnatural. Go for a lighter tan, avoiding unwanted golden undertones to look beautiful with a winter spray tan.

Choose a spray tan according to DHA content

DHA stands for dihydroxyacetone. The DHA percentage determines the darkness of the spray tan solutions. Less is the DHA percentage; less will be the darkness of spray tan color. Always look for a DHA chart before choosing any color, or ask your spray tanning salon artist.

Be Gentle on Your Skin

Getting a spray tan can be exciting but remember it is still an external ingredient that will react with your skin. Make sure your spray tan does not include any artificial colors and has additional benefits.

Anti-aging properties

Focus on skin lifting and hydrating ingredients to reduce the harmful long-term effects of DHA. The chemical should maintain the elasticity of your skin to stop it from wrinkling at an early age.


Additional fragrance causes irritation to the skin, and it does not even last for a long time. Avoid any artificial fragrance in your spray tanning solutions.

Artificial colors

Sometimes a bronzer is an artificial color that sits on your skin while your spray tan develops. Although it is a good short-term solution, it stains your clothes and surroundings. 

It is better to wait for the tan to develop instead.

Still Can’t Decide? Consult the Experts

After reading all the above suggestions, one may still be in a lot of confusion. It is understandable, as with many solutions come many options. If you can’t still decide on your spray tan color, feel free to consult the experts.

Tanning salon artists have been doing this for a long time and may know your skin type and tone more than you. Convey your requirements and go through the array of options before getting a spray tan.

Wrapping Up

Getting a spray tan is not difficult but deciding the right tan is. Take into account your skin tone and undertone before making a choice. Summers are the best time to get warm colors, and you need to avoid dark shades in the winters.
Above all, do not forget to exfoliate a day before the appointment and apply light cocoa butter moisturizer on your stretch marks to get an even skin tone.

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